"We were real excited," running back Damion Samuels said about getting back to Public League play. "I believe we should have been way more competitive when we played the [nonleague] teams. We had Pennsbury and Downingtown East, and Wood we had in the beginning. Up front, it was bad."
"They were all pumped up to get back into the Pub," head coach Will Doggett said. "They knew that they were good enough to be competitive in the Pub."
The excitement showed on the field, as Frankford's offense ran over Northeast and squelched any opportunity the Vikings had on offense. Their coach had a message for them before the game Friday afternoon.
"We're back in our league. We started 0-3, so what? We've started 0-3 before, and we haven't lost in the Pub, so let's go play football," Doggett told his squad.
His 31 seniors on the roster took that message to heart.
"When we started off 0-3, it hurt us, but we have a lot of seniors on the team," Samuels said. "A lot of them are hungry. When kids are so hungry, they still come to play. We stuck together, and had some senior meetings. We were good."
Senior quarterback Marquise Poston was one of those leaders, but he saw the 0-3 start in a different light.
"It is great competition, and I was glad that we did play them," Poston said. "I love competition. I love it. It was great to play those teams, and I don't have any problem playing them."
He had a solid game under center, leading his team on four scoring drives, and accounting for 69 yards passing and a touchdown.
"I came out and tried to perform the best way I possible could, and do it for my team," Poston added. "It wasn't anything special, I just tried to perform as a team and keep everybody's minds right, because the last three games, we did not perform the way we wanted to. We wanted to come out and enforce it a lot and play hard and smart."
And enforce they did. The Pioneers were up, 27-0, before Northeast could engineer a scoring drive. Their offense kept Northeast off the field for most of the game, primarily because of the performance of Samuels. He recorded 11 carries for 62 yards and two touchdowns, but also contributed an interception on the defensive side.
"I've been practicing my patience," Samuels said. "A lot of times, I get in fights with my linemen because they say that my patience is low, because I'm so used to bouncing the ball out and not really waiting for blocks. I did a good job of following those blocks and sticking to the holes, then doing whatever I want when I get inside the defense."
While the players are excited to get their first win of the season, their coach was not 100 percent thrilled with their performance, but he sees the potential.
"We're in a situation where we have talent, and we have to play better and we have to show it at practice," Doggett said. "We have to show up, and work hard at practice and get better. If we do that, then who knows, because we have some kids that can play football."
The players have their sights set on one thing.
"We are really excited, and ready to take the throne," Poston said. "We are defending champs, so you know everyone is going to come after us."
"We're going to win the Public League championship," Samuel proclaimed.
On Twitter: @AndrewJAlbert01